You could teach an entire class about Mark Kozelek. The San Francisco-via-Ohio native has been in the scene for thoughtful, numbing folk and rock ever since the 90s, where he led his band, The Red House Painters, through 6 albums up until 2001.

Admittedly, I never listened to that much of the band, but both his solo work and his work with Sun Kil Moon enough is a lot to digest. Anyone who’s heard Sun Kil Moon’s’ most acclaimed release, 2014’s Benji, can attest to his blunt, wordy, and poetic style of songwriting. Even more intense is his self-titled release last year, where the songs consist solely of guitar loops led by Mark’s diatribes about everything from talking with Ariel Pink at a festival to not recognizing his music being played in a coffee shop in the Bay Area.

So, after having been tossed into the Mark Kozelek universe for some time, I recently decided to give his work with the Red House Painters a chance. I had stumbled across the track “Cruiser” off the bands very last album, 2001’s Old Ramon, and instantly fell in love. The track, like many of his solo works, focuses on space and repetition, making it a patient yet trance-inducing listen. It’s elongated, melancholy folk rock (with more emphasis on the rock part), a perfect example of “road trip music”: hypnotic songs that are in no rush, but rather take their time fleshing out ideas and grooves. Coincidentally, the song’s lyrics are about driving around LA late at night, while missing someone back home.

Once you listen through the rest of Old Ramon, the magic of the band really starts to make itself clear. Right from the first track “Wop-A-Din-Din,” a love song dedicated to Mark’s cat, the band brings a relaxed and satisfying sound held together by acoustic guitar and Marks up-close singing. Other tracks like “Michigan” and “Golden” also integrate a folk/country influence, while tracks like “Between Days” and my personal favorite “Byrd Joel” radiate a rock energy that can keep you moving. Of course, as with Mark’s recent work, there are also long, slowly building ballads that are also perfect for long, pensive, sad-boi drives, such as “Void,” “Smokey,” and the incredible “River”

I guess all I really want to say is that it’s rare to find a 10 track, 70 minute long record where there’s not a single song you don’t love, where you can play it from start to finish every day in between classes and not get tired of it, where you are floored every listen by the way the band plays together, express so much emotion through nothing but the sound of guitar, bass and drums. The album, in case you couldn’t tell by now, has easily become one of my favorite recorders period, and it’s a great start into the worlds of the Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon, and the mastermind himself, Mark Kozelek. Give it a listen!

Listen to Old Ramon

Written by Tino Tirado

 

Welcome to the raging waters of Splash House 2016, the desert soiree that encapsulates summer all in one weekend. Where the pools are at the heart; and world-class house sets make the beat that keeps it pumping and bumping.

For its June installment of the summer, Splash House hosted headliners such as Odesza, Justin Martin, Jai Wolf, and FKJ, drawing in an eclectic crowd to the sun and sands of Palm Springs. KSDT got the opportunity to peep the party. Here are some dets for any crew thinking about heading to desert for Splash House weekend-two.

The two-day event consisted collectively of two venues, three pools, three stages, and a number of shuttles for easy mobility between the festivities.  In its entirety the Splash House pool/house- party is the epitome of summer.

@KSDTRADIO Reppin’ at Day 2: #splashhouse. Saguaro poolside during @slaptop’s set. #housemusic #palmsprings [2/3]

A photo posted by UC San Diego Triton Radio (@ksdtradio) on

Venues:

To start the iconic Saguaro Hotel stands as the flagship venue for Splash House experience. With color and charisma attendees are welcomed into a crowd of creatives. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own personified pool gear, in addition to creating their own crew themes and balcony scenes.  The Saguaro has become the main-hub for the weekend’s “Bitchin’ Balcony” competition. Balcony décor ran rampant this June from “Over the Rainbow (unicorns)” to “Baewatch” lifeguards to good ole Golden State Warriors fans reppin’ for the finals.

Floating down the Riviera 🍕💦🌴 #splashhouse

A photo posted by Splash House (@splashhouse) on

The Riviera Palm Springs provided a fresh playground for seasoned Splash House festival-goers; boasting two unique-secluded pools, The Riviera was an impressive addition to the Splash House roster.

The Tiki pool, the smaller of the Riviera’s two pools seemed to be a secret to most attendees. Surprisingly, the pool was empty by comparison making for lax lounging, swimming, and easy-listening.  It served as nice spot to process and recharge between plunges in the “party-pools”.

The Riviera Main was an oasis with tropical trees shading the perimeter of the grand pool. Designated as the main stage, the space hosted the headliners of Splash House. DJs that graced the Riviera stage garnered the premier view of the entire weekend.  Perched on the edge of the pool sets cascaded straight into the water wading crowd making for the most splash + house milieu.

 What to Bring:

Less is more, unless it’s a unicorn floatie. Water- proof your gear and you are in the clear. Besides the essentials such as phone, keys, and funds, add to the fun by bringing pool accessories to use & share. These summer items might not survive the weekend or make it back to your possession; but Splash House is the natural habitat for inflatable party animals so let them go wild and free.

Sun (Pro)tection. Sunscreen and shades are a must. Nothing kills a good-time quite like a sun burn. Reapply the screen throughout the weekend and your future self will thank you.

What to Wear:

Live that life aquatic. Whether or not you plan to go in the water give yourself the opportunity and wear a swimsuit or trunks. With temperatures in the 100s (Fahrenheit) keep any additional articles light and airy.

Whatever floats your feet. High heels to flip-flop to water booties, there seemed to be one consensus to leave the socks at home. As the excitement rises, so does the waters of Splash House. For weekend one a few sought the higher heel, but many embrace the H2O.

@KSDTRADIO at the ‘Riviera Main’ listening to @sonnyalven. #splashhouse #palmsprings [1/3]

A photo posted by UC San Diego Triton Radio (@ksdtradio) on

Notable performers (June):

The Tiki stage was casual allowing for the audience and DJs to interact on more personal level. It was home to the event’s freshest- faces to the festival circuit. The stage was presented by #FREELIFE the lifestyle brand of the DJ duo Bixel Boys who performed both Saturday and Sunday. They included a vinyl set filled with throwbacks to close. The Los Angeles based group has performed at Electric Daisy Carnival on multiple occasions and HARD Summer.  For Splash House they invited their #FREELIFE community and friends to DJ the intimate Tiki Stage.

KSDT bumped into Lewis from the DJ duo Just Kiddin’ once again at the Tiki pool. KSDT was first introduced to the British group when they performed in San Diego at Bang Bang earlier this year – read our review here. Just Kiddin’ performed at the Saguaro Stage midday Saturday. Splash House festival seemed to personify their laidback and humorous music stylings.

French Kiwi Juice, better known as FKJ performed at the Riviera Main. The French DJ played a number of blissed out beats. With his unique blend of electro-soul, FKJ had the attendees moving and flowing like the pool waves. FKJ notably remixed a throwback from the French indie-rock band Phoenix to closeout his set. Timed to end near sunset FKJ was a smooth transition into the summer night.

Odesza was the final set of the entire weekend. The DJ duo from Seattle performed and headlined San Diego’s own CRSSD Festival this last spring. Odesza seemed to be enjoying their time at the Riviera Main- remixing 2000’s hits such as Gweni Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl”, Justice’s “Dance”, and Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. The Splash-Housers swooned when Odesza remixed their own hit “Say my Name” mid-set. The duo’s up-beat combo of alternative and dance music made it hard for attendees to say-goodbye to Splash House 2016.

I wanna dance with you 💃🏽🔥🎉 @odesza DJ set #splashhouse

A photo posted by Splash House (@splashhouse) on

Don’t miss Splash House this August for their second installment of summertime madness. With Gorgon City, Bondax, MK, and Snakehips, Splash House round two will once again attract audiences to dance under the desert sky. Interested in attending? Click here for more information on Splash House!

Photos: @splashhouse & KSDT Radio // Article: Susan Bystrom

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It was 108 degrees and the sets were sizzling for the first weekend of Splash House 2015. The two day festival consists of three different venues; each with its own personality, pool, and stage boasting the best of up-and-coming electronic dance music.

Splash House is the combination of all you summer plans: it’s a desert road trip, a day club, and a music festival all in one. Any initial pool phobias or anxieties about whether or not you’re summer body ready are quickly bleached by the day time heat. And any animosities towards the sun are washed out by the pool waves.

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Splash House seamlessly created an atmosphere that interweaved its venues, the music and its festival-goers into an interactive extravaganza. The decorations evoke “Summer-time Madness” with plethora floaties from half eaten donuts to Hawaiian llamas brought by attendees. The guests were also allowed to decorate their hotel balconies in hopes to be deemed the most Bitchin’ Balcony of the weekend; a title with perks of four free tickets for next year.

Guests this summer were invited to activities like morning yoga before their first dip in the pool, Disco Bingo during the day, and for whose didn’t want Splash House to end there was an after-hours after-party each evening. To quote a San Diego County native Lil Rob “ain’t nothing like them summer nights.”

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This year the event took place at The Hilton Palm Springs, the Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club, and the Saguaro; each equipped with a watering hole. The three venues were connected with a number of party buses making it easy to move from one stage to another.

The Hacienda was the calmest of the three, a good place to start and ease your way into the festivities. With green grass and misters you could dance ‘til your heart’s content.

The colorful Saguaro undisputedly was the epitome of the Splash House experience. This last weekend there were more bodies than water in the Saguaro pool, but the venue itself held just the right amount of crazy.

The Hilton Palm Springs was the location to end each night. When the sun finally set, the Hilton held the biggest and best DJ sets of the weekend, definitely the main stage if you had to name one. At the Hilton headliners such as RAC and Cashmere Cat would close out Splash House with feel-good vibrations.

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RAC, Remix Artist Collective is currently comprised of one, Andre Allen Anjos. RAC performed at Coachella earlier this year and has collaborated with YACHT, a veteran KSDT performer. Known for alternative dance, RAC performed a ‘DJ set’ Saturday. The Splash House stages gave the audience and DJs the ability to lock eyes and connect on a more intimate level. RAC’s unique sound flowed off the table onto the dance floor making his crowd the largest of the weekend. Ending the night with his single Let Go attendees were left with an up-tempo farewell to day one of Splash House.

Cashmere Cat also performed at Coachella earlier this year and performed at Mad Decent San Diego in 2014. This long haired cat was the final set of last weekend’s Splash House. The combination of house and hip-hop left for a sultry set filled with a number of his most popular remixes. Hydrating with a pint of beer mid-mixing, Cashmere Cat seemed rather laid back at a lower bpm (beats per minute), and the crowd was right there with him.

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During the daylight hours of Splash House there were so many artists to watch out for. Shift K3Y is a 22 year old London raised and acclaimed artist leaving his mark here in the U.S. He recently performed at San Diego’s Bang Bang and will be releasing a track under Dim Mak later this month. His set at Splash House was a hot blend of house and R&B – garage, bringing soul back onto the dance floor even in 108 degree heat. Thomas Jack performed at the Saguaro day two spinning his signature tropical house; a perfect fit for a summer pool party. The 22 year old will be in San Diego this September performing at the Mad Decent Block Party.

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Overall, Splash House was a gorgeous time filled with gorgeous people. It’s definitely a great pool party with a killer soundtrack, but because of the heat, the pools and the hotels were unquestionably the stars of last weekend’s Splash House. It was a unique experience, unlike any festival I’ve attended. Even with the 3,000+ festival-goer, the event felt intimate allowing you to connect with others who also made the plunge into Splash House 2015.

First -time hearing about Splash House? Don’t fret; this massive pool party/music festival is still young; starting in 2013 this baby is only coming into its third year.   With renowned artists such as Flume, Cashmere Cat, and Chromeo gracing the line-ups, this little oasis in the desert is quickly growing and is making a big name for itself. Splash House isn’t just making a splash in the EDM world it is creating waves in the music festival scene.

Interested in going? Don’t miss out. Tickets for Splash House August 2015 are still available online here.

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Photos & Review / Susan Bystrom

6/19/2015